Maybe next year

Crouch ready to pounce

Well, things are certainly not going according to plan in the second half of season 9. By this time in every other Master League that I’ve played, at least some Treble-oriented momentum has started to build. This time, in PES2015, I’m actually going backwards, away from the Treble.

Having been eliminated from the Champions League before January, I was bounced into the Europa League’s Round of 32, where I was drawn in a two-legged knockout match against Benfica.

In PES years past, I’d have done very well in the Round of 32, and maybe even gone on to win it. That’s the kind of thing that traditionally happens at this stage of a Master League. You start hoovering up the outliers while lining up your tilt at the Treble. It’s the kind of tendencies that Master League… tends toward.

Not this year. Not for me.

I drew the first leg 0-0 at Benfica, and lost the second leg at my place 0-2, and was out. It felt like a much more comprehensive defeat than the raw stats say it was.

PES2015 eliminated from Europa by Benfica

It was one of those matches where afterwards I couldn’t recall having a proper goal-scoring chance, or any kind of decent spell in the game. All my strikers were missing, all my creative players were missing, and at crucial moments my defenders and keeper were missing.

So I was eliminated from the Europa League. Again.

I’m not saying this was a scripted outcome. After years of Master League you just know when you’ve run into a Scripty McScript of a match, and this didn’t feel like one.

Instead it felt like I was trapped in a whole other dimension of trouble, a more fundamental one, where the game’s general difficulty and core mechanics – i.e., the very nature of the game – held me at bay.

And things have not been that much better in the league. The current table:

PES2015 Season 9 after 29

Out of 9 matches played since the last post, I’ve won about 2, drawn about 4, and lost the remainder.

I’ve just about stayed in touch within the Champions League qualification mini-league, but from a title-challenging point of view, realistically speaking, even the most generous of scripting fairies would struggle to look kindly on me now.

But we shall see. The way I’m playing, it doesn’t look likely, but it’s not impossible. I would need to go on a Run.

My Regen Robben has started to have little magic moments from match to match. He’s still only 17, and showing it – his stamina lasts for less than a half, so his appearances are nearly all substitute ones. He scored this fine chest-and-volley:

Chest-and-volley goals like that one are very much a PES2015 ‘thing’, one of the game’s hallmarks that will be remembered in years to come.

Every PES has its hallmarks. I don’t recall so many chest/thigh-volleys being present in any other PES, ever.


  1. that is a lovely goal from Robben, not-Greg, I was watching it at the bus stop this morning just after you put it on youtube. Perfectly into the top corner

  2. Cheers, and it’s only a slight shame it was with Robben’s ‘wrong’ foot. He’s not as completely left-footed in real life as some lefties. You should see him moving in PES2015 – very like the original. Genuine fake authenticity, you cannot beat it.

  3. Nice goal NG. I’ve got a cracker from Robben in my 12/13 video that’s upcoming.

    Gone out of the League Cup and I am 9 points off Man City at the top. Still loving it.

  4. great hardcore session on FIFA, 10 games in a row. Took the calculated risk of selling my best midfielder and keeper in the window to get money for free transfer wages but still right in the Championship promotion race thanks to last minute 3-2 and 1-0 wins v main rivals Sheff W and Reading. One point off second with 9 games to go. Brighton out of sight at the top though, looks like they’ll be really good by 2020 John Shed!

  5. I love how this game is coming together now as my team has an identity and playing philosophy now. Still 14th with 13 games left but beat Arsenal 3-1 away in a game which I passed them off the park. Now I know what style of players I need in every position the key is now to have youth players of similar style in each position. The aim for next year is to get one of the European places with a top 8 finish possibly. I have a hunger to just play.

  6. Got my FIFA mojo back last night. Bham just above mid table in the Championship, but just knocked Blackpool out of the cup. I’m as poor as a church mouse, but trying to get a couple of January loans sorted.

  7. Re. Robben, I’m hoping he’ll be Hagi Mk II in the fullness of time.

    Generally re. PES2015, the overall difficulty is such that I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever conclude business with it. At the moment I can’t play every day, but when I do, they’re mammoth sessions, and the game never feels as if I’ve sussed it out in the way that many previous PESes often felt suss-outable (e.g., PES6, PES2008, PES2009, PES2010, PES2013).

    Re. FIFA15 I wonder if I’ll ever get back to it this year now. I’d love to, as it gave me 5+ great seasons in Career Mode.

    Darryl – that’s the difference between tinkering with a football game and having a football game as a regular part of your daily life: to borrow a common observation from the snooker commentators who are back on our screens, you’ve just got to get your head down and play it. Even werd has found that this year (I think we can assume his missus had the baby).

  8. nail on head, not-Greg – no fretting about whether you’re playing the right game, or on the optimal settings, just a good feeling when you’re immersed in a footy game as part of daily life. Although I’m having an evening off and a few beers after last night’s mammoth session. Catching up on the latest rap tapes at the moment, then Match of the Day/Football League Show, then maybe some friendlies on FIFA to keep my eye in. Back into the promotion run-in tomorrow night

  9. You will have to forgive my messing about as I didn’t think I had recorded the clip as I have problems sometimes with the youtube account and was mainly playing about with the camera angle. But it has saved it and I really like this goal as it is one of those rare little goals that you don’t get on Fifa, which makes this game special. Even after the lovely little flick I had work still to do from a tight angle. Ashley Young is turning out to be one of those key players even at 32.

  10. Did anyone watch any of the PES UK Finals yesterday? I actually ended up watching quite a bit of it. A lot of super narrow formations and interesting that every online game I’ve watched everyone plays on 4-bar.

    So after seeing this I played an international friendly match in ML on 4-bar to see what it’s like. Very much like 3-bar as you would expect, I think it’s something I will explore more the future. It takes a lot of the frustration out so you can focus on learning new tricks. Need to be careful not to fall back into old habits thoigh as it will hinder my two-bar ML progress.

  11. Some long sessions going on, it’s good to read about so many good stories, there’s nothing like a proper footy game marathon.

    I went one bar on superstar and after a rocky start I’ve gone from bottom of the table to top. There’s no super ai teams in England but the rest of the world has some Superteams. I’m out of both the cup and europe so it’s not all rosy and I have the best two forwards in the game. I would struggle to manage it without totti, when he’s blue arrowed I struggle.

    One bar passing is a real pleasure.

  12. Darryl – just managed to edit your comment so the link displayed the video inline. Don’t worry about the fiddling about either, the important first step is getting the footage uploaded. You can tinker with Share Factory as and when you get time.

    Re. the goal itself, that’s a very different sort of goal to most that we’ve seen posted here and on Paul’s blog – one of the quirky ones, a very realistic one dare I say as you see that kind of action from lofted high balls with the GK committing himself and not being aware.

    I watched the rest of your footage and the way you lose the ball at 2:15 while waiting for the optimum moment to slot the runner in keeps on happening to me too 🙂

  13. Tommy – I’m not against 2-bar, 3-bar, 4-bar at all and imagine the game played on those levels is just as satisfying on a different scale as on 1-bar. I play on 1-bar purely for the sake of it being an extra difficulty modifier alongside the general one (still Top Player for me). What would we say the old games from the PS2 era and before were on, before the era of passing assistance settings? I’d say they were the equivalent of 4-bar, really. And they were not bad games at all.

    Cook – 0-bar remains a bridge too far for me right now. As does Superstar difficulty. As things stand, I wonder if I’ll have time to fit in everything I want to do on PES2015 before PES2016 drops through the letterbox. Could this be the first PES since PES5 that I play until the literal night before the next game?

  14. NG/Tommy – I put the pass assist up to two bar when I moved up to top bar last season and is still just as difficult as the difficulty balances out with this game. I do like 2 bar for the fact that it seems to open up more variety of goals like the one I posted. The intenton will be to move up to 1 bar then 2 bar superstar but that is for a further time and place as I have plenty I want to achieve on these settings first.

  15. Still on 2-bar Superstar and no reason the change yet.

    Season 6 has started well despite struggling to find many new players better than I already have.

    A 0-0 at home to promoted Derby had me wondering if this will be another frustrating season but then either something clicked or the scripting gods gave me a break; beat Chelsea 2-1 at home and then Arsenal 1-0 away with a lobbed goal so satisfying I’ll have to upload it later. I’m on PS3 remember, so I don’t have any of this new frangled share function stuff.

    Also through a tricky cup game vs Ipswich on pens to leave me unbeaten so far this season.

  16. nG/Darryl – It’s whatever works for you. I would like to spend some more time with 4-bar as I’d like to compare myself to these online grand masters and see how I match up. But as it stands my challenge in offline ML lies in 2-bar. I’ve already mastered the game on SS and 3-bar, so I can only make things harder otherwise the challenge and my interest will fade. If I ever decide to play an online game this year, it will be 4-bar.

  17. I meant top player of course.

  18. All this talk about passing assistance levels has made me realise that I’ve never considered moving back up a bar or two, and trying Superstar with that setting, as a way of offsetting the difficulty leap a tad until I get more comfortable. I’ve already had a few matches on Top Player with 2-bar this morning and results were… interesting. I’ll save the rest for tomorrow’s post.

    Shed — so where’s the audacious lob?! And something in me misses the days of holding a phone camera up to the TV screen with a shaking hand.

  19. one game to go, one point behind Reading and Brighton, can little Exeter do it? This would be the first time I’ve ever taken a side all the way up from the bottom on FIFA…..

  20. arse, 0-1 defeat to a good Palace side. Very tempted to play the playoff matches now, but I’ve got a 6am flight

  21. Don’t do it — you’ll be unconsciously sprint-clamping and generally playing sub-optimally, thinking to finish the match(es) and get to bed more quickly. With the stakes so high, a leisurely relaxed session is in order.

  22. Abbeyhill – indeed that is some achievment on Fifa because of the financial reality of taking on a div 2 club. I love the play offs in Fifa as there is a real sense of occasion about them.

    Finished season 4 last night and was happy with my on target 13th place. Season 5 got underway this morning after leaving myself with a bit of a small squad again but does leave me able to bring in about 4 players in January again. Season off to a decent start with a 1-0 win against Utd followed by a 0-0 against Arsenal. Target is a European place this season and am showing I have got that extra bit of mental toughness now.

  23. Yes easy & relaxed does it for me too. After an inconsequential last match of the season at home, Milan played Chelsea in the CL final. My key man El Sharaawy was still off form, so Destro started. Also used the explosive Talisca (bought from Benfica) in place of Honda, who had his farewell match earlier. Went 2-0 up after half an hour, Destro got the 1st after a defence splitting pass from Nigel De Jong, and Insigne clipped it over the keeper after being set up by a storming run down the left by Talisca. After that was all Chelsea, Oscar and Hazard should have scored when open at the penalty spot, but my keeper Lopez was in great form. Hazard pulled one back from the spot after a reckless challenge from my ex-Chelsea player Zouma in the box, but Jon Obi Mikel placed a curler just wide with 15 minutes to go. I had only one chance the whole of the 2nd half to make it safe, but Destro put one straight at the Chelsea keeper after already having shielded off the Argentinian Garay. After hanging on a bit more, it was 2-1 to MIlan and there was even a celebration with the Cup to enjoy.

    El Sharaawy was Italian player of the year, and I got coach of the year, again. A junior Di Natale that plays just like the old one was the Serie A topscorer 😛

    On to the Copa America. Straight knockout, 1st match Brazil v Jamaica. Seems like lazy programming again as there are 16 teams, why not do traditional group stage, etc just like Asian Cup and Euros? And more like the real thing?

  24. Just the one game last night, dumped out of the CL thanks to old rivals Real Madrid. Just the one goal scored over two legs by guess who… Viktor Fischer.

    Time playing PES is very precious at the moment what with the infant, and the last couple of days I’ve found myself drifting back into FM as I can play it remotely on the ipad during the 3am feeds.

    Every cloud.

  25. Great to see the continuing ML stories.

    n-G: I’ll aim to get that goal on here later today as I ran out of time last nigh.

    Adding to the rushed theory, I rattled through three matches in a brief window of opportunity last night and lost them all. Gutted as it’s ruined an otherwise good start.

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